Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka not focused on role in play-calling

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — When the New York Giants and their offense stumbled last season after making the playoffs in coach Brian Daboll’s first season, there was some speculation on the future of offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.

Instead, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale left the team after Daboll fired two of his top assistants and special teams coach Thomas McGaughey also was fired.

Kafka had an assistant head coach title added to his role as offensive coordinator.

Daboll may be taking away Kafka’s playing-calling role on game day and doing it himself.

Daboll has handled the play-calling for the most part in the organized team activities and the two-day mandatory minicamp that ended Wednesday at the Giants headquarters.

While that has happened, Kafka will walk around and talk with the coaches and players and do whatever he can to help.

“There is a lot of things on a given play you can look at and detail up,” Kafka said. “I’m always looking to have some feedback with the players, get their interactions on how they saw the play, and then give my feedback. Then we talk about it on the field and we talk about it in the meeting room and get those things cleaned up.”

Kafka is familiar with a head coach calling the plays. He was the Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator before joining Daboll’s staff. He watched Andy Reid call the plays when Matt Nagy and Eric Bieniemy were the offensive coordinators.

It’s not surprising that Daboll may want to handle the play-calling. He was the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator and play-caller before being hired as the Giants coach in 2022.

Kafka did a good job the first season in New York when the Giants went 9-7-1 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Last season, New York slipped to 6-11 in an injury-marred season where quarterback Daniel Jones was hurt in early November and the offensive line give up a franchise-record 85 sacks.

It has put Daboll under the microscope heading into his third season in New York.

“Mike is a good teammate,” Daboll said Wednesday before practice. “Provides a lot of the value, has a lot of good insight.”

Kafka was interviewed by the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals for head coaching jobs after the 2022 season and had talks with Tennessee and Seattle despite the struggles in 2023.

“I’m not worried about that kind of stuff right now,” the 36-year-old Kafka said when asked if a reduced role would hurt his chances of getting a top job. “We’re in the spring and we have so much stuff that we have to improve as an offense fundamentally, technique-wise. That’s really where my focus is at.”

Daboll knows rising in the coaching ranks and becoming a head coach is not always a straight path. He joined the Patriots as an assistant in 2000 and didn’t become a head coach until 2022, after working for several NFL teams as well as Alabama.

“You’re going to have some tough times,” Daboll said of his road. “There is always a lot to learn, a lot to self-evaluate. Again, you do everything — you don’t have all the answers. You do everything you can do every year to try to be as good as you can be.”

The Giants should have more playmakers on offense with the addition of wide receiver Malik Nabers — the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, a rebuilt offensive line and a young core of receivers that includes Wan’Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt. The biggest question is the status of Jones. He tore an ACL in his right knee, but he is optimistic he will be ready for training camp.



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